Cyclone Phailin takes a toll on winged visitors from Siberia

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Migratory birds affected by cyclone
Srikakulam (AP), Oct 15: Cyclone Phailin's fury has also hit avian species with over 1000 open-billed storks, the Siberian migratory birds that flock the district each year, dead in its aftermath while a couple of thousands became homeless.

Forest Department officials are trying to save a few by keeping them in a temporary shelter in a local school building at Telu Kunchi, where the birds flock in June every year.

However, the officials are having a tough time in terms of feeding the birds as they eat only snails. According to B Vijay Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, Srikakulam, nature's fury may affect the birds' migratory cycle and impact the number of arrivals next year.

He said more than 1000 birds died in the last four days during and after the cyclone. Telineelapuram and Telukunchi areas in the district house nearly 5000 pelicans and open-billed storks that fly thousands of kilometres from the icy Siberian region every year during June and fly back in December.

The winged visitors travel for nearly a month to reach these places. "They come here for nesting in June.They lay eggs and hatch them and go back to their respective places by December along with the newborn.Now the chicks are just one month old.

Unfortunately, their habitat was disturbed due to heavy winds and rain which damaged many trees where nests are located. Many of them fell down and died as they could not fly," Kumar told PTI.

PTI

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